– Young America Sings And Makes Music – Festival – February 18, 1942 – WNYC – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
A collection of songs by American composers, some receiving their first performances, as recorded by Baritone Mordecai Bauman and pianist Sam Morgenstern at Young America Sings And Makes Music broadcast on February 18, 1942.
Since America had been more or less on a War footing since the dark days in Europe of 1940, there was a strong embrace of all things patriotic – all things American and all things evocative of an American past that, in many ways bore little resemblance to the breathless and soul stirring music that was coming out of the contemporary music conservatories around the U.S.
Because this was essentially music with a strong feeling of the sentimental and as time wore on became increasingly Patriotic, the airwaves were flooded with new composers offering music of America and established composers dabbling in American myths and legends for source material.
This collection of some six songs represents a style and school of music that has long been forgotten but bearing a strong nationalistic flavor.
The pieces themselves are announced individually and the recordings are a bit rough, despite a considerable amount of clean-up and tweaking. What’s important is the message – the music, for the most part, is not good which probably explains why much of it has been relegated to obscurity. But it was all part of a time when America desperately needed a boost in morale – it was hoped this music would stir those feelings. Whether is was successful or not we probably won’t know. Reading reviews in the pages of The New York Daily News, interest is directed more in the direction of rural Blues representation (i.e. a Leadbelly performance) than a group of songs by composers of Modern American Music, many of whom came and went in a flash.
But for a piece of history of music during Wartime, it’s essential listening if even for once.
Go ahead. Hit Play.